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Wouldn’t It Be Nice If…

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: Sister72

There’s an old expression that when you’re up to your armpits in alligators, the first thing you need to do is drain the swamp.  PattiAnn is currently draining the swamp and will be back next week with a new post.  In the meantime, enjoy this previously posted bit of help and advice.

This Post originally published October 8, 2009.


In the past several days I’ve been struggling with a mood problem. I really want to be in a good mood, and sometimes I actually achieve one for a short time, but then my negativism takes over again and I slump over in, if not despair, then despondency.

With all the writing that Ellie and I have been doing on choosing your reality, it feels worse because, after all, if I’m going to write about this stuff, I should be able to manage myself better.

Recently, I have been listening to Ask and It Is Given. The idea behind this book is that like the physical laws of the universe, for such things as gravity, quarks, speed of sound, light speed, there are principles that govern how our emotional/spiritual lives work.

The idea that there are emotional/spiritual laws intrigues me. Throughout time, there has been a widely accepted idea that what we give our attention to increases. (Incentive systems are built on this premise.) Therefore, if we focus on being angry about something, we get more angry. If we are afraid, the more we focus on our fear, the more afraid we become. For me, those things are definitely true, though I’m not sure how far I’d want to take this analogy. (I have a very hard time with the idea that people attract cancer or heart disease, though with heart disease, I’m willing to accept that ignoring diet and exercise has an effect.)

State-Shifting

Just like Ellie and me, Ask and It Is Given is focused on shifting your state and choosing the reality that serves you. BUT they point out an interesting twist, which makes sense to me, but I hadn’t understood until now. If we attempt to move too far from where we are now emotionally, we feel a disconnect.

For example, I like using the movies to change my state. If I can find one, I pick an engrossing and somewhat upbeat movie. I buy my ticket and popcorn, find a good seat, and “hide” in the movie’s reality. If the movie starts somewhere near where I am emotionally, it can take me along with it as things improve. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a great example of a movie that starts at an emotional low, distracts the audience from the low, and moves gradually to a happier place (even though it ends at the beginning of WWII).

If, however, I am feeling low and I go to a movie that is really upbeat and cheerful (say a silly comedy), my (edited) reaction may be “Oh, put a sock in it!” It is too far outside my emotional range for me to identify with it and what is worse, it makes me feel worse.

I’ve found the same to be true of listening to motivational tapes or reading books designed to help you “Put on a Happy Face” (Bye Bye Birdie, Dick Van Dyke). If they are too far from where I am emotionally, I feel worse when listening to or reading them.

To help us solve this disconnection, the authors of Ask and It Is Given documented how our emotions might fit on a scale of negative to positive. Using this scale as a guide, the reader can choose to change where they are emotionally by using an exercise that helps to move them toward the more positive end of the scale (always assuming that you’d prefer to feel better.)

One of the exercises that caught my attention, is “Wouldn’t it be nice if?” The beauty of this exercise is that from where ever I am right now, I can “day dream” about how nice it would be if things were different AND while I’m day dreaming, I make it what seems realistic and comfortable to me right now.

For example, I’m would really like to be more fit and slim. If I focus on my weight, I can work myself into quite a funk. Using positive thinking to tell myself that I’m going to lose 5, 10 or 15 pounds in the next month doesn’t even feel possible to me. Instead I can focus on “Wouldn’t it be nice if…”

  • I could find a weight loss method that would inspire me?
  • My metabolism and my appetite were more evenly matched?
  • With the nice cool weather, I walked more?

Each of these holds the possibility for a small improvement in both my mood and my attempts to get more fit and slim. Unless I can emotionally move myself from a negative view of reality to a more positive view of my ability to become more fit, I won’t have the energy to actually make even a small change. This is true of any challenge we face in our lives. We must move to an emotional point of possibility to begin to implement any change.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if…” is another way for us to choose our reality. It gives us a way to move to the more positive side of the emotional scale. Instead of trying to leap out of the pit, we climb out one step at a time and with each step we take, we feel better and more able to do what is needed.

Wouldn’t it be nice if day dreaming could help make it so? It can. Give it a try.

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Cup o’ Inspiration

cup with steam swirl

Take a short break and consider the following:

“The art of living does not consist in preserving and clinging to a particular mood of happiness, but in allowing happiness to change its form without being disappointed by the change, for happiness, like a child, must be allowed to grow up.”

Charles Morgan

Recommended Reading

Image of Life Is Good: A Guided Gratitude Journal (Guided Journals)
Image of Wake-up Calls: You Don't Have to Sleepwalk Through Your Life, Love, or Career!
Image of Steering by Starlight: The Science and Magic of Finding Your Destiny
Image of It's All Too Much Workbook: The Tools You Need to Conquer Clutter and Create the Life You Want